Ransomware Took Down Washington DC CCTV Days Before Trump’s Inauguration

January 30, 2017

Just days before the inauguration of President Trump, the storage devices recording data from the D.C. Police surveillance cameras were infected by hackers.

According to the Washington Post, some 70 percent of the abovementioned storage devices had been infected, which forced citywide reinstallation efforts, especially since it all happened eight days before one of the largest events of the year.

What kind of virus could have hit the storage devices? Well, it seems that it was one of the most popular types used these days – ransomware. The whole thing left police cameras unable to record any footage between January 12 and January 15, putting the entire population at risk, despite officials rebuttal of this notion.

The cyberattack reportedly affected 123 of the 187 video recorders in the city’s closed-circuit TV system, police admitted. The intrusion was confined to the CCTV cameras that monitor public areas, without expanding deeper into the city’s computer network.

No ransom was paid

It seems that no ransom was actually paid before the storage devices were put back to rights and the surveillance cameras were back to work. Instead, the devices were taken offline, all software was removed, and the systems were restarted at each site.

Ransomware malware is one of the most used types of hacking methods used these days. Hackers trick people into clicking on a link or open an email attachment, such as a PDF, which then lets loose the malware into the computer. The files are immediately encrypted, and users are locked out until they pay a sum of money, usually after Bitcoin since it is untraceable.

This is a method that is now tentatively crossing over to mobile devices too, although it is not nearly as widespread.

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